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NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health

Special
Section

Worldwide Discoveries Help People Everywhere

Global health research, like that funded by the Fogarty International Center, leads to improvements in health care in the United States and the rest of the world. The chart below shows examples of discoveries and their impact.

Diseases

Discoveries

The Benefits for All Americans

Huntington's
Disease
Venezuela—A gene for Huntington's Disease (HD) is identified in an extended family, all descended from a single woman immigrant from Europe in the early 1800s. Prenatal diagnosis now possible for more than 30,000 Americans with HD and over 200,000 who carry the gene.
Diarrheal Diseases Bangladesh/India—U.S. and local scientists pioneered development of oral rehydration therapy (ORT) for treatment of cholera. ORT prevents over a million deaths per year, is the firstline treatment for childhood dehydration worldwide, and is recommended for treatment of every American child with diarrhea.
Breast Cancer Nigeria—High fatality rates and ineffectiveness of treatment of African women with breast cancer, compared with Caucasian women in the United States, was linked to three genes. In addition to several other factors such as poor access to care, genes play a key role in the poor prognosis of breast cancer and the lower success rates of treatment of the disease in African American women. Knowledge of genetic markers can facilitate personalization of treatment for African Americans.
Hepatitis B Australia—Hepatitis B antigen discovered in blood samples of Australian aboriginals led to discovery of the virus, development of a vaccine, and the prevention of related liver cancer. All American children and many in the developing world are currently immunized against hepatitis B. It's the first cancer vaccine—a model for other viral associated cancers (e.g., cervical cancer and papilloma virus).
Malaria China—A traditional medicine made from wormwood, Artemisia annua, is found to be highly effective for treatment of malaria. More than 1 million Africans, mostly children under 5 years old, die from malaria each year. More than 1,000 American travelers infected annually and hundreds of thousands at risk. Artemesinin-derived medicines are the treatment of choice for saving lives.
Tuberculosis Treatment India—Adherence of patients to long-term treatment for tuberculosis enhanced by a program of directly observed therapy (DOT), a strategy that also reduces the emergence of drug-resistance. Success of this program abroad has led to adoption of DOT TB treatment in the United States, where close to 14,000 new cases were reported in 2006.

Spring 2008 Issue: Volume 3 Number 2 Page 12